HNW - Linen evenweave? or cotton?

Carol Thomas scbooks at
Thu May 6 04:06:58 PDT 1999

><1. Take a handful and bunch it hard in your fist.. >
>It wrinkles, but the wrinkles shake themselves out after a bit. .

That's okay, as long as it doesn't go back to looking as smooth as if it
were ironed.

>2. Take a thread, dampen it and pull.  Linen thread is very strong for its
>size. >.
>Dampened thread is *very* strong. ( I can't break it by hand, even wet).
><3. Take a thread and pull the fibres out.  Long?  Short?  Linen, long;c
>otton or rayon, short & may be fuzzy.>
>Long hard (non-fuzzy)threads that pull out easily.

All these sound like linen!

>I need to go to a craft store and check out the packets of Zweigart linen,
>maybe. The weight of this fabric is  heavier than most evenweave linens
>I've seen, which is why I'm suspicious. It isn't as flat, thin, and light
>as most evenweave linen I've seen. I suspect it's a linen/cotton mix, and
>might grit my teeth and use the silk on it, anyway (I'm such a klutz with
>linen for this stitch).

If it had cotton in it, there should be a mix of shorter threads instead of
the long fibers you found.

>I gather the cloth like gray ash doesn't count? Or that it burned quickly
>and cleanly?

Some people can tell linen from cotton from rayon from a mix by the color
of the ash.  I can't do it.  Your burn test says it is natural fiber, but I
cannot tell more than that.

When you burn it, will it flame and then go out, just smoldering?  Or will
a long thread burn down to your fingers?  Because of the long fibers, linen
will often go out.  Cotton burns like a wick, because of the shorter
fibers, and sustains a flame better.  

We have a chain of  discount stores in the area, which bring in mill ends
and manufacturer left-overs from NYC.  They often mark things as linen that
are 10% linen, 90% rayon, etc.  So I test as best I can, as described.  By
checking with professionals costumer friends, on questionable pieces, I've
concluded that this approach is good, although nothing is foolproof.

But is certainly sounds like linen!


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